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9/07/18 - Thoughts and observations from Friday at the Disneyland Resort and the 1st week of Halloween Time 2018
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9/07/18 - Thoughts and observations from Friday at the Disneyland Resort and the 1st week of Halloween Time 2018
Halloween Time started at the Disneyland Resort on Friday so I paid a visit to the parks to check it out and check in on the ongoing projects. The crowds were very mild in the afternoon but as the sun set the parks became crowded. Wait times for most attractions were mild all day, but the Halloween Offerings jumped up quickly as the crowds grew. The weather was on the warm side in the mid 80s in the afternoon and cooling to the mid 70s when I left the park and 60s when I reached home.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • I arrived at the resort and found no delays parking. They had the Ball Road overpass set up for two way traffic which was great to see. Any time I can avoid the Ball Road light it is a good start to the visit. No wait at the tollbooth and not even a slow down to be directed to a space today. Security had one or two guests per line only and I was able to walk right on a tram as they made the final boarding call. So all in all a very optimal experience today. I saw later in the day the parking structure was full/closed as has become the norm it seems. The new structure cannot come fast enough.

  • Speaking of the new structure it is progressing at what seems to be a good pace. The first sections of the third floor have concrete now and a large portion of the second floor is poured already with supports for it going up on the last sections of the ground level. The escalator structure has grown to reach the 5th story in on spot already.

  • Halloween Time started Friday with attraction overlays, entertainment, decorations and food throughout the parks and Downtown Disney to celebrate the season. The festivities are more or less the same as last year. There are some minor tweaks to decorations and entertainment but the offerings are the same. The number of food related items seems to have grown with an extensive list of choices available throughout the resort. Overall I was a little disappointed with the offerings this year. I was hoping for continued growth and some more new decorations or entertainment choices. Since I am not a foodie all the new food choices did not really interest me.

    A quick run down of changes I noticed -
    • The Musical Celebration of Coco has added a Miguel puppet this year. The rest of the show seemed about the same as last. The new puppet was a nice little plus and fit the show. I caught the first show and there was a good size crowd on hand for it.
    • Vamparina from Disney Junior has arrived at the park. She is meeting guests in Hollywood Land. On Friday she was set up at the entrance to the Sunset Showcase Theater and the line was well beyond a single set. I was there around 2pm and she was just coming out for set and cast members were telling guests who were getting in line that they most likely would not meet her until the 4pm set. The location was a little awkward but at least it meant guests waiting were in the shade, they were using the stroller parking area for the theater as the queue space.
    • The Annual Passholder Corner has returned and is using the queue space for Stage 17. This year they are passing out rectangular buttons that will be changed each week. There is also a photo backdrop in the back corner. No other activities were taking place in the corner when I visited.
    • Cars Land is celebrating Haul-O-Ween again with the same decorations and overlays as last year. The nightly lighting sequence has changed and features a new song this year and a cut back narration. I preferred last years where each establishment was highlighted.
    • At Disneyland the Haunted Mansion Holiday has a new gingerbread house as it does every year. This years looked impressive as always.
    • The Grand Californian will once again have a display made out of treats. They started construction of it Friday, no sign as to when it will be completed.

  • The rest of the large trees in Paradise Gardens Park along the parade route have been replaced with smaller trees. This really opens up the area but it means there is almost no shade in the area now. I am assuming this was done for sight lines and upkeep reasons. I preferred the shade and large trees. Also now the light/speaker poles stick out even more.

  • Pixar Pier continues to be developed. They were working on several pieces of concrete. It appears they are being painted yellow. Friday they did not look good, it will be interesting to see the final product. Clearing continues for the Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind attraction with all the trees now gone from the area. With the wall you cannot see anything else. No sign of Bing Bong in his store or the Pixar Lamp at the entrance yet.

  • Walls are now up around A Bug's Land. Two of them have Stark Industries logos on them but no other hints of what is to come yet. No real visible progress. With the location of this project there will not be many chances to see progress unless they put some windows in the walls at some point.

  • Ghirardelli was once again NOT passing out chocolate samples, just menus at the doorway.

  • Over at Disneyland several projects have wrapped up since my last visit:
    • In Frontierland the Laod Bhang painting on the backstage gate repainting appears to have final finished. This project had been going on for the past several months. The new one looks to be identical to the original for no major changes catching my eye.
    • A planter in the walkway between the DVC kiosk and popcorn cart in New Orleans Square was removed to help with crowd flow. Also they removed the lower wall along the walkway in front of the Haunted Mansion adding a couple more feet to the walkway and removing the seating. I exited the Haunted Mansion just before 9pm and traffic was flowing really good through the area. Also noticed what seemed like more cast members on hand to guide the crowd. There were what seemed a couple dozen between the Haunted Mansion exit and Cafe Orleans which made it an easy walk this evening. So not sure if the planter removal or the extra CMs or just luck but it was an easy walk during a very busy time of day on Friday. During the day though the removals do not look the best. The Haunted Mansion area turned into half stroller parking and the other half had benches. The other planter space was partially being used as a staging space for extended queue polls and trash cans.
    • In Tomorrowland a seating area around the support closest to the churro cart has been removed so it matches the other. This opens up the area but again removes shaded seating.
    • In Tomorrowland the mural has been replaced on the northern side. It appeared to be the same as the previous one. I thought they may take this opportunity to change it.

  • The top deck of the Mark Twain was closed again this evening. I saw three or four cruises and it was closed for all of them. This seems to be a common occurrence now a days. Wonder why? One theory is to minimize load/unload times but with only one boat running and it not overly crowded it does not seem it would make that much of a difference. It was hot but not that unbearable to blame heat.

  • Pixar Fest ended last week but there are still quite a few elements of it at Disneyland. The Play Parade is still running. The Monorails were still wrapped. The Shorts Film Festival was still in Tomorrowland and the Pizza Planet overlay was still in place. By comparison at Disney California Adventure almost all traces of Pixar Fest are gone.

  • Haunted Mansion Holiday had a consistently long stand by time on Friday. It was the first day of operation and from what I could tell it was a little smoother than year's past. I did not see it down for extended periods of time this year. FastPasses disappeared early in the day. I picked one up for 8:30pm around 1:30pm for example. I was pleasantly surprised to find no real backup when I showed up to use the FastPass, unlike last year that seemed to consistently have a return back up to the entrance or beyond. Wonder if the mix of FastPass to standby was tweaked this year or just less downtime or good luck for me?

  • Closed out my evening with Remember Dreams Come True Fireworks. Always great to see this show. The E-Ticket in the sky segment is one of my favorite Disney Firework segments. The show seemed to be the same as before with no big changes jumping out to me. Friday they did have some minor issues, for example the Mickey firework effect failed with the left ear not launching and the face a bit low. Also no Tinker Bell, assuming because of the Matterhorn renovation work. The Star Tours section with the lasers and lights looked great on Friday.

Here are some recent posts to the Geek's Blog:

Geek’s Blog Postings Recap August 15-31, 2018

Disney Related Press Releases

Be sure to check out the picture update that goes with this Geekspeak column, it can be found in our Disneyland Resort Pictorial Update section

Trip logs and mileage reports are in the Park Miles section.

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